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Old 11-28-2006, 06:33 PM   #1
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ROW M030 First Impressions

I just got my 2000 S back from having the ROW M030 sport suspension installed (just a day before the first big snow of the season!). I only got a chance to drive it home, about 16 miles and it isn't aligned yet, but I thought I'd give some first impressions.

First off, there was nothing wrong or worn about the stock suspension. The car has 38,000 miles. There wasn't any discerable body roll from the driver's seat and grip was more than impressive.

One of my other cars is a very tightly sprung Rx-7 and it's set my expectations for sports car feedback pretty high. I figured that if the factory offers a more tightly sprung setup that could eccentuate the feel and responsiveness of an already great car, I should get it.

My first impression is that it does all that I expected. The first thing that you notice walking up to the car is that it's obviously lower than it used to be. It's about 1" in front and 1/2" in the rear. There's still some gap in the front wheel well, but it's much less (an inch!). Sitting in the car, it actually feels lower. It might be subconsous, but the car actually feels lower to the ground from the driver's seat.

I haven't had the opportunity to do any spirited driving (that'll have to wait until February), but responsiveness does seem to have improved. Steering inputs are translated into motion just a little bit quicker. Quick lane changes at 45-50 are totally drama-free. The car just moves over. It sure doesn't feel like there's any body roll going on. It's definitely brought a smile to my face

I don't feel that there's much of a difference in ride, although I like a stiff ride, so I wouldn't car much if it was stiffer. Keep in mind, my car is an S, which is a bit stiffer than the non-S up to 2002 so it was pretty stiff to begin with.

I'll post more in the spring when I get to have the car aligned and take it for some mountain drives. For now, I'm very happy with the change. In my mind, it's now more of the car that it should be. And it's even cooler looking just sitting in my garage.

By the way, I'm planning to sell my stock suspension.

FS: Colorado: Stock Boxster S suspension
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Old 11-29-2006, 05:34 AM   #2
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glad you finally made the upgrade. i think you'll love it. you may find that it understeers more than you'd thought; believe it or not, the base boxster M030 rear sway bar is thicker. if you find you want a bit less understeer, swapping the S sway for the base M030 sway will do the trick.

also, you'll need to play with your tire pressures a bit. the M030 likes pressures quite different from stock. i also found that because of the added roll stiffness up front, the factory M030 alignment spec for front camber (-0.8 degrees) was insufficient for my driving style (ate the outside edge of my tires). i've since re-aligned with -1.6 degrees up front and everything is perfect. i'm able to achieve 1.2G in turns 2 and 3 at talladega gran prix. i was also able to pass two C5 corvettes on that course with my 2.5L, so the M030 is pretty good stuff. it shaved about 11 seconds from my lap times there. hope you enjoy it!

BTW, did you do the dampers, too, or just springs / sways?
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Old 11-29-2006, 06:53 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by insite
glad you finally made the upgrade. i think you'll love it. you may find that it understeers more than you'd thought; believe it or not, the base boxster M030 rear sway bar is thicker. if you find you want a bit less understeer, swapping the S sway for the base M030 sway will do the trick.

also, you'll need to play with your tire pressures a bit. the M030 likes pressures quite different from stock. i also found that because of the added roll stiffness up front, the factory M030 alignment spec for front camber (-0.8 degrees) was insufficient for my driving style (ate the outside edge of my tires). i've since re-aligned with -1.6 degrees up front and everything is perfect. i'm able to achieve 1.2G in turns 2 and 3 at talladega gran prix. i was also able to pass two C5 corvettes on that course with my 2.5L, so the M030 is pretty good stuff. it shaved about 11 seconds from my lap times there. hope you enjoy it!

BTW, did you do the dampers, too, or just springs / sways?
Dampers, springs and sway bars were all changed. Changing spring rates without damping rates can have some unwelcome results.
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Old 11-29-2006, 10:49 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue2000s
Dampers, springs and sway bars were all changed. Changing spring rates without damping rates can have some unwelcome results.
the M030 doesn't change the damping rates, just the length of the rod.
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Old 11-29-2006, 10:58 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by insite
the M030 doesn't change the damping rates, just the length of the rod.
I was under the impression that the USA M030 and USA standard suspension had different struts but the same ride heights. Is that not correct? If so, I'd expect the damping rate of the ROW M030 to be different from the USA standard suspension.
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Old 11-29-2006, 11:00 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by insite
the M030 doesn't change the damping rates, just the length of the rod.
What is the damper rate? Sunset Imports informed me that if I wanted to go the RoW 030 way that I don't need new dampers and could just put the springs on the stock ones no problem. They said it has to do with the damper rate not being adjusted.
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Old 11-29-2006, 11:10 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blinkwatt
What is the damper rate? Sunset Imports informed me that if I wanted to go the RoW 030 way that I don't need new dampers and could just put the springs on the stock ones no problem. They said it has to do with the damper rate not being adjusted.
that's right. the M030 dampers just have rods that are 10mm shorter than stock
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Old 11-29-2006, 11:30 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by insite
that's right. the M030 dampers just have rods that are 10mm shorter than stock
USA Standard front strut PN 986 343 041 20
USA M030 front strut PN 986 343 041 31

USA Standard rear strut PN 986 333 051 20
USA M030 rear strut PN 986 333 051 31

They are both the same ride height so there must be some difference in damping rate. Either that or the spring perches are different somehow.

Last edited by blue2000s; 11-29-2006 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 11-29-2006, 06:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by insite
the M030 doesn't change the damping rates, just the length of the rod.
That is absolutely not true!

Every strut, for USA and RoW, for base Boxster and S, all have different part numbers and different damping rates. They have to; the spring rates are all different, and you KNOW that Porsche would not use the same dampers on different spring rates.

You can also verify this with Bilstein, who manufactures the stock struts for the Boxster. Their "HD" series have increased damping over stock Boxster S dampers, and are equivalent to the USA M030 dampers. The "Sport" series has a shorter length for lower ride heights but the same damping as the HD series.

Check this out:
http://www.cb-racing.com/boxster_030.html
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Old 11-29-2006, 08:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenkamm
That is absolutely not true!

Every strut, for USA and RoW, for base Boxster and S, all have different part numbers and different damping rates. They have to; the spring rates are all different, and you KNOW that Porsche would not use the same dampers on different spring rates.

You can also verify this with Bilstein, who manufactures the stock struts for the Boxster. Their "HD" series have increased damping over stock Boxster S dampers, and are equivalent to the USA M030 dampers. The "Sport" series has a shorter length for lower ride heights but the same damping as the HD series.

Check this out:
http://www.cb-racing.com/boxster_030.html
after a bit of research, the damping WAS different between the base, S and Sport. For the front dampers, this is still the case. For the rear however, the part numbers have all been superceded by the 'S' versions; no matter whether your car is a base or an S you get the same part. Strange.

The M030's are indeed valved differently than the stock dampers. The ROW and USA versions have the same compression and rebound rates, but the damper rods are shorter on the ROW version so that the coil springs don't unseat on full rebound. Thanks for catching the mistake.
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Old 11-30-2006, 04:55 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by insite
The ROW and USA versions have the same compression and rebound rates, but the damper rods are shorter on the ROW version so that the coil springs don't unseat on full rebound.
Well that's very interesting. The shorter springs should be stiffer to account for the reduced suspension travel. Thus, the dampers for RoW should be stiffer than the US M030. If not, well, that's weird.

May I ask what your source is for damping rates? One piece of information I have been trying to get my hands on is the damping difference between US M030 shocks and the stock US Boxster S shocks. I know they are different, but I don't know by how much. This kind of information seems very hard to find.
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Old 11-30-2006, 08:02 AM   #12
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my source for the damping rates was the factory shop manual. it doesn't give the numerical values; it only stipulates that they are different. i agree that the shorter RoW spring rates should be higher due to reduced suspension travel. that doesn't necissarily mean that they require additional damping, though. a given spring rate can be adequately damped any number of ways depending upon the desired handling effect; there's not an 'ideal' ratio that mandates a specific damping rate to spring rate.

if anyone knows where to find the numerical compression / rebound damping rates for the various parts, please post. i'm sure a lot of us would like to see what they are.
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Old 12-01-2006, 06:36 PM   #13
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[QUOTE=insite] there's not an 'ideal' ratio that mandates a specific damping rate to spring rate.
[QUOTE]

But there are combinations that give optimized ride and handling characteristics.
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